Premier League: Manchester City vs Chelsea preview


Defending Premier League champions Manchester City have a tough test to pass today as they host fourth-placed Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium. The reverse fixture, played in December, produced one of the few defeats of the season for the Citizens. Chelsea won that match 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, with goals from Ngolo Kante and David Luiz. The two sides have also clashed in the Community Shield at the start of the season, and that time it was Manchester City who won 2-0 thanks to a double from Sergio Aguero. The record of the last six direct matches in all competitions shows a perfect balance, with three victories apiece.

Manchester City are right back in the title race, despite an unexpected 2-1 defeat at Newcastle at the end of January. They recovered from that result with a convincing 3-1 victory over Arsenal and then this week they won 2-0 at Everton with goals from Aymeric Laporte and Gabriel Jesus. Striker Sergio Aguero, who netted a hat-trick against Arsenal, played just ten minutes against Everton in order to be fully rested for Sunday's clash with Chelsea. Left-back Benjamin Mendy remains sidelined as his knee issues became serious once again, while Claudio Bravo and Vincent Kompany are unavailable as well.

Chelsea can't really hope to push for the title this season as both Liverpool and Manchester City are twelve points ahead, but they will have to fight for a place in the top four with Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal. The Blues had suffered consecutive Premier League defeats, 2-0 at Arsenal and 4-0 at Bournemouth, before last week's 5-0 victory over Huddersfield. Now they need to confirm that revival against a real opponent, and it might be too much for them. Callum Hudson-Odoi and Gary Cahill are the only injury worries for the away side.

Probable line-ups:

Man City: Ederson - Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Laporte - De Bruyne, Fernandinho, D. Silva - Sterling, Aguero, Sane

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga - Azpilicueta, Rudiger, Luiz, Alonso - Kante, Jorginho, Barkley - Willian, Higuain, Hazard

My prediction: Manchester City to win 3-1, Chelsea don't seem capable of stopping the Citizens at the moment.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Man City win - 1.50
Draw - 4.60
Chelsea win - 7.00

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